Groppo di Manarola , Manarola
Tel: 39 01 8792 0563
Concierge.com's insider take:
The hamlet of Groppo is just a scatter of houses high up on the hill behind Manarola, but it's here, in two rooms of a converted private house, that you'll find the best restaurant in the Cinque Terre. Chef Maurizio Bordoni is passionate about the local peasant cuisine, which has always been equally balanced between land and sea. This is reflected in the binary menu, which offers two routes through the meal: The menu di terra might kick off with a humble but delicious focaccina, sprinkled with grains of sea salt and filled with local testa in cassetta salame and red pepper purée, and continue with stuffed leg of rabbit in pine-nut and lemon sauce. The menu di mare offers a fishy selection, which almost always features the dish that gives the restaurant its name: Cappun Magru, a rococo assemblage of pesce cappone (a type of gurnard), ship's biscuits, steamed vegetables, broccoli pesto, oysters, mussels, and clams. In each case you pay a fixed price (around $50 for the land menu and $60 for the sea version) and generally get two choices for each of the three courses. Bordoni's German wife, Christine, who takes your order, is a trained sommelier: Ask her to recommend a bottle from their good selection of smaller local producers. If you don't have a car, you'll need to get a taxi from Riomaggiore or La Spezia.
Open Wednesdays through Saturdays for dinner only, Sundays for lunch and dinner.